by Matt Wellumson
For 2012, Millville finds itself mid-way through the Lucas Oil motocross schedule in a year that has been plagued with high temperatures and a continued growing list of injured riders. Like others in the series, Spring Creek is a four day event that consists of days dedicated to either amateur or pro level competition. We had the opportunity to be at Spring Creek MX Park for Friday’s amateur race and Saturday’s main event Pro national. With all the ingredients in place to make this a great event, I was definitely pumped at the opportunity to capture some of what happened during the weekend. Since I knew the race would be available on live stream and broadcasted live on most TV, my goal was to try to capture the event overall.
After almost a month without rain at Spring Creek, Mother Nature decided to change things up by dishing out two separate storms that dumped a combined half inch of rain. Scenes like this were common late morning on Friday, despite officials closing large portions of the track, forcing competitors to use alternate lines that are normally used for track equipment or emergency vehicles.
Making the trip down to visit us at Millville was Ami Houde who earned some serious style points by power sliding her way up to the front straight on her Friday morning race.
With the truck setup and bikes set for the AM qualifying runs, Ryan Dungey’s brothers, Blake and Jade, made use of their downtime to play a little catch with other KTM crew members.
After a night with a further half inch of rain, the first AM qualifying session saw track conditions near the same as mid-day. Most bikes from the first 450 session ended up having a good portion of the track attached to their bikes.
Nick Wey was involved with one of the scariest crashes I have seen in a long time, and sadly I wasn’t even in the area when it happened. While traveling through the sand wash, Wey was ejected from his bike, which flipped end over end before slamming into Spring Creek (the waterway). Nick ended up hitting the hard back near the track with what sounded like a hip injury.
Riders did everything they could to keep the mud off themselves and their bikes. I think the most unique approach was used here by Ryan Sipes. I don’t know how well it worked for him though.
You can’t be at a Millville event without seeing at least one member of the Martin family. Having grown up at Millville, this national track is literally part of his back yard. Alex had great form all day and qualified for the heats without issue.
While it is quite often you see kids scoring a set of goggles or maybe a helmet, it is quite uncommon for one to get a race bike. Too bad for these guys, that isn’t actually what’s happening here. When the track crew was off helping a downed rider, they look to anyone to give a hand.
By late morning, the rainfall amounts didn’t matter much to the overall track conditions. With the intensity of the sun and constant churning being done by the bikes, the dirt was starting to dry out considerably in some locations.
According to officials, spectator levels reached the same level as Carmichael’s final race at Millville. It is nice to see how healthy motocross continues to be, and to hear the support the fans gave to a multitude of riders.
To me there is nothing more exciting than a Millville Pro National start. While Alessi did get the initial holeshot, his joy was taken away when Jake Weimer stole the lead shortly after the first turn.
Cross rutting in corner #1, Matt Lemoine is seen here directly in the path of many riders while trying to get back into the race. Never a cool spot to be fearing for his life and limb after getting up from a crash.
With Alessi still leading the race, Moto Concepts team members were beside themselves cheering him on at every opportunity. This mechanic almost knocked me over the previous lap so I learned to keep my distance.
With Alessi leading the race and Dungey in the top 5, Ryan was working hard to make up positions in the hunt for 1st. With KTM top brass in town from Austria for the first time since Supercross, Dungey made it a mission to look good for both his fans and his team.
The pressure for Alessi begins now with Dungey within striking distance of first place.
Millville ruts continue to strike down riders. Seen here in what looks like a mid-race nap, Michael Stryker was able to spring back into action and pull off a respectable 28th in moto #1.
Barcia leading Roczen with Tomac closing in behind; this group, with the addition of Baggett, caused 250 class racing to be so worth watching. I often forgot to take pictures during these motos.
Working hard to catch Barcia, Bagett is seen here receiving a face full of roost from lapped traffic. This event almost gave Tomac an opportunity to pass for 1st himself.
Outside of Dungey, there were also quite a few other locals who qualified for the afternoon motos. Jake Loberg managed a top 15 placement in moto #2, with an overall finish of 22nd.
On his final decent down Mount Millville, Ryan Dungey went on to continue his winning streak on the track he grew up on. He made his goal to win for his fans and his team a reality.
With the hype leading up to this event, Dungey fans came in high volume to watch and congratulate him on his win. Even if some don’t know how to spell his last name correctly, the Ryan relayed that the local support was definitely appreciated.
A Honda dominated 250cc class start by the Geico team and track favourite Alex Martin.
Shortly after that last photo, a slight bobble by Tomac spooked Martin into taking a completely different line from everyone else. Regardless, others followed suit, sending photographers and track builders running for their lives! Looking back, the track map provided to photographers did show that area as a red “do not stand” zone. Now I see why.
Your typical Millville rut; nothing too deep for these guys.
While he may not have made the podium position he was seeking he did manage to get qualifying lap times faster than all others. This includes everyone in both 250 and 450cc classes combined!
Another good days work for the jump known locally as the camelback or Chad Reed’s catapult to many others. Thankfully there were no repeat performances to the 2011 event that started here.
With Dungey and Tomac taking home top honors, I feel that being a fan of both of them and this sport was a great thing to close out my weekend. There will be plenty more MX photo opportunities for myself this summer, however, there is nothing that can compare to covering an event in your home state.
Nothing beats celebrating the end of a good race better than dousing your fans with bottles of champagne. Having been soaked by this a few times, I learned my lesson to stay back when holding camera equipment.